CHICAGO: Marriott International, the hotels and hospitality company, is leveraging social media throughout the customer journey as it seeks to maximise the returns from this unique channel.

Alex Stein, Director/Marketing and Social Media Analytics at Marriott International, discussed this subject at the 2017 Digital Summit Chicago.

“Social is unlike any other channel … It impacts every stage of the customer journey,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Marriott maps, measures and monetises social media.)

Marriott International has embraced social analytics as the means to generate insights from this channel, as well as to equip its marketing and operations globally, and to swiftly devise new tactics to drive revenue, customer satisfaction and loyalty.

“Customers no longer fit neatly into a conversion funnel,” Stein said. “Brands now need to figure out how to fit into a customer’s natural journey.”

Elaborating on this topic, he reported that customer data are drawn from three main sources: brand channels, social listening, and social commerce.

Data from brand channels tend to sit in the hands of brand teams or a centralised social marketing team, while social listening is a function of PR or social customer service, and social commerce is the purview of a digital-marketing team.

“But your customers don’t experience your brands or your products this way – in silos. There’s valuable social marketing and customer data that we can gain from each of these channels,” Stein said.

The metrics that Marriott monitor include awareness, consideration, conversion and loyalty. “The end goal is to tie your customer data to social data in a meaningful way, both for marketing and for better service and engagement,” he said.

“Because we are able to identify social media profiles belonging to our loyalty members, we can also prioritise responses and engagement opportunities.”

Although the company has been an early adopter of many new social technologies, Stein suggested that this channel remains in an early stage of maturation. “We are in social where we were at the start of the Industrial Revolution,” he said.

Sourced from WARC